Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 2 Tamworth

   Tuesday 19/02/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Ageing is an inexorable process. Fight it as we may‚ time marches on and there is not a lot we can do about it. Men may attempt to recapture their youth by straddling flash motorcycles‚ cladding themselves in brightly coloured leather garb and roaring of through country lanes just as they did in their 'Boy Racer' teens‚ but they're still old men. The ageing female of the species have taken to dolling themselves up and heading off with their girlfriends to night-clubs‚ just as they did when they were truly 'dolly birds'.. So popular have these expeditions come that the phrase 'Grab a Granny Night' has officially entered the English language through inclusion in the Oxford Dictionary. Dressed‚ Mutton‚ Lamb‚ are words that come to mind‚ though not in that order. They try but they're still ageing ladies. I admit I have been through this self kidology. At heart‚ I told myself‚ I was still young. Then my heart spoke up and said‚ "Oh no your not". After a little resistance I had to give in‚ and grow old graciously. I even started listening to lunch time Jimmy Young on BBC Radio 2‚ or should that be Sir Jimmy Young since the Queen gave him a (k)nighthood to go with his bedsocks. The day of this Tivvy v Tamworth game must have been a slow news day. The major topic being discussed on the 'phone-in section' of the JY show seemed to be the case of a spurned wife who exacted revenge on her wayward husband by burgling and trashing his new home and causing £19k worth of damage. A former editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine‚ with a notably forgettable hyphenated name of course‚ vainly attempted to justify the release of the said lady but it made me think of the forthcoming game and what degree of revenge seeking would be present at Ladysmead following the Lambs narrow victory in Staffordshire two and a bit weeks ago. I would feel quite happy‚ and have my vengeful feelings satisfied‚ if the Yellows could just take the three points‚ narrow the gap between the sides‚ knock Tamworth off the top of the table and seriously dent their championship aspirations. Not a lot to ask‚ methinks.

Tivvy kicked off with the howling wind and driving rain at their backs and the traffic flowed in one direction‚ towards the Tamworth goal. The first corner was won late in the second minute. The lambs were caught cold as the ball fell in the six yard box. Kevin Nancekivell flicked it on and into the net. The Lambs were stunned. The ball was back on the centre spot before it had even been into the Tivvy half of the field. They did manage to force their way into the Yellows territory but not far and not for long as Town continued to take advantage of the elements. On six minutes Nance was again in the thick of it‚ bursting through the middle with the ball tied to his bootlaces before laying it off to Antony Lynch whose snapshot flew into the top of the side netting. Lynchie was set up again in the 11th minute as Steve Winter made a swift dash down the right but again the ball flew inches past the upright. At last Tamworth mounted an attack‚ after 13 minutes‚ and Paul Edwards had to be quick to fall on a header from Tony Hemmings who was at last beginning to exhibit some of his expected pace‚ ball skills and threat as the Lambs started to make some kind of a showing.

By the halfway stage of the first period the Staffordshire side had got to grips with the game and though Town were still on top the visitors had not lost touch. Just after the half hour there was another threat to the Yellows goal. A free kick was given away just outside the penalty area. Hemmings territory. He'd scored for Ilkeston from a similar position earlier in the season - actually that was the last goal Ilkeston had scored! He obviously fancied his chances of a repeat performance. Driven fiercely with his left foot it flew back to him off the wall. The second attempt found it's way safely through to Eddie and off went play down to the Tamworth end. Darren Acton in the Lambs goal was showing a tendency to wander forward right to the edge of his area and was nearly caught out as Winter spotted him well out and attempted a long range effort. Memories of David Seaman being lobbed from the halfway line sprang to my mind‚ but Steve's effort sailed just over the crossbar instead of into the net. It acted as the signal for Tivvy to step up a gear. within a minute a Scot Rogers thunderbolt was deflected away but the Yellows were back in the driving seat. Then they won what was only their second corner of the match in the 37th minute. Paul Chenoweth made his way over to the right to take it. Phil Everett moved into the middle from his wing back position to harass the defenders in the goalmouth. the flag kick came across. the defence began to move out. The ball caught the wind. Poor Acton was the only one who stood a chance of getting near it as it curled under the crossbar. He got close‚ got a touch but could only help it into the net. Two corners‚ two goals‚ two - nil‚ no wonder the fans behind the goal were calling for their side to ''just win a corner'. Town continued to press and chances fell to Nancekivell‚ Everett‚ and Nancekivell again but‚ to the relief of the Tamworth side the interval came with no further costly breaches to their defence. As they left the field they were no doubt buoyed by the thought that at least they would have the wind to aid them in the second half.

And so it was. Just as Tiverton had dominated the first period‚ Tamworth took control of the second. For the greater part Town were pinned back in their own half by their visitors and though they were always looking to make the quick break‚ seldom did the opportunity arise. Richard Pears‚ a half time substitute for Nancekivell‚ did escape down the right flank in the 57th minute gut his cross was intercepted by Acton before if reached Lynch ploughing through the muddy middle. Four minutes later and Tamworth were camped round the Tivvy box. Hemmings had another 'pot' from a free kick which was touched out for a corner. It was the first of a series of flag kicks won by the Lambs and saw every player bar Acton in the Yellows half - and even he was within a couple of yards of the halfway line as he sought refuge from the quagmire that was his six yard box.

The pressure had to tell. A Tamworth free kick taken by their custodian just inside his own half was sailed into the Tiverton area‚ cleared away but lobed back in. It fell to Mark Hallam who thumped it into the net. Tamworth were back in it and their tails were up. For ten minutes they continued to lay siege to the Tivvy goal. Then Town managed to break the dominance for a while.

A series of sorties forward produced some goalscoring chances. Steve Winter robbed a defender through shear persistence and found Ovens who closed on goal only to stumble as his ankles were crabbed by the mud. There was one excellent piece of interplay between Pears and Lynch that came to an unrewarding end when Ovens' shot was rendered harmless as its power was nullified by the mire‚ leaving Acton to easily scoop it up and with just 7 minutes remaining on the clock a handball on the edge of the area saw the ball touched to Everett who lifted his shot clear of the mud but by about ten foot which also saw it clear of the goal and flying to safety as far as the Lambs were concerned. Then just as it looked as if Tivvy would hang on‚ the ever dangerous looking Hemming shattered their dreams. Down the Tamworth left the ball was played high into the area. It looked to be a safe distance from goal but a cheeky overhead kick left the Yellows defence flat footed. Hemmings was in the middle and the ball fell to his boot. It was a sharp strike‚ a strikers goal. Tivvy tried to regain the points that had been wrested from their grasp but even with Steve peters breaking out of defence to send in a cross just feet too far in front of Scot Rogers there was not enough time.

Revenge will have to wait. Tamworth's Championship aspirations have taken a dent. Tiverton's chance of consolidating their fourth place standing likewise. It could all change again by 5 O'clock Saturday. I only hope this 'aged' reporter can stand the pace!


Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards‚ Steve Winter, Neil Saunders, Steve Peters, Nicky Marker, Scott Rogers, Kevin Nancekivell (Richard Pears 46 (Jamie Mudge 78)), Steve Ovens, Phil Everett, Antony Lynch , Paul Chenoweth

Tamworth: Darren Acton, Rob Warner (Lee Wilson 61), Paul Hatton, Gary Mills (Rob Gould 79), Darren Grocutt, Mark Turner, David Foy, Tony Hemmings, Mark Hallam, Frazer McHugh (Darren Roberts 84), Richard Follett

Attendance: 848


This report ©2002 John Reidy






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